Published at 2020, March 25th
Stay home – everyone around the globe is being told these days. Are you stuck at home (often) with nothing (productive) to do? We put together a bunch of cool ideas related to sustainable development and responsible consumption. While some are more fun-related, others focus more on food consumption or on giving your place a more minimalist look.
If you have interesting ideas we haven’t included in our list of sustainable ideas of what to do while stuck at home, shout out to us via our social media channels and we might just include them in our list. Don’t be shy!
1 – Place Aside Clothes to Give Away Later
Since you are spending so much time at home, what if you made your place cozier, more natural, more simple, and minimalist? There are lots of places where you can start and one of them is your wardrobe.
Can you find clothes you are definitely not going to use any more? When you look at the clothes you haven’t worn for a long time, can you reflect on whether there are real chances you will never use them again and if so, put them aside too so you can take them to second-hand stores once it is ok to walk freely again?
What about those old wasted ones with some holes – perhaps it’s a good idea to make another group of clothes that will follow a different stream and be sent to some local upcycling artist that can turn trousers into cases?
What are your clothes mostly made of? Nylon, polyester, acrylic? Microfibers that will end up being reaching the oceans then…
Take the opportunity to learn more about the very polluting fast fashion industry and search for responsible brands out there you can look for once you need something new that you can’t find at second-hand stores.
Perhaps you can even reorganize the way your clothes are tied up to make your dressing process more efficient and functional? We’ve dropped a video below that might leave your eyes wide open: ways of folding your washed clothes you may never have thought about. Seriously, just hit play and find a whole new (folding clothes) world.
2 – Give Your Unloved Books a Second Life
Odds are that somewhere on your bookshelf you have books you have read and that you don’t necessarily want to keep. Among these, perhaps you can also find books you got as birthday gifts and you have never actually read because they aren’t really your type.
Why don’t you pick up these books and give them a second life? There are a couple of different ways you can do this. For instance, bookcrossing suggests leaving it somewhere outdoors for a strange (or member) to find. And Bookfreeswap and bookmooch allow you to register your books and you can get notified when someone is interested in buying them.
You can also use giant e-retails like eBay to trade books and other kinds of things that are in good shape and you want to get rid of. As most of these swops involve leaving home to send mail, you should maybe just select what you want to let go of so that went being outdoors is ok again you can take care of it.
3 – Grow Some Herbs and Get Familiar With Your Local Food Seasons
Being stuck at home can also be an opportunity to reconnect with the soil and with the cycle of plants.
You shouldn’t leave home but there are a couple of retailers with home delivery services and with a website you can order from.
As well as others you can call to figure out what kind of herbs and pots they have available. It requires making a call yes… but perhaps the delivery will arrive faster – you never know!
Basil, parsley, mint, oregano… what about giving these ones a shot so you can even use them in your cooking once they’ve grown up? Check online what grows best in your region at this time of the year and how to plant it, order some seeds, soil and pots and get your hands dirty!
And since you will get more familiar with terms like sunshine hours, the amount of water needed, or soil humidity perhaps you can take the opportunity to find out what fruits and veggies grow around you and in which seasons.
If we try to have a diet mostly based on what grows around us we help release the pressure and exhaustive production to feed the whole world that often takes place in tropical developing countries.
4 – Reflect About Your Diet
In these times when going food shopping is (the) one excuse to go out, chances are we are more aware of the food we need and what’s in our kitchen pantry, in our fridge, and in our plates when the time to eat comes.
Moreover, as there is no rush to go anywhere (especially at dinner), this can be a good opportunity to reflect upon the food you are eating.
Where does it come from? How is most likely produced? Does it spend much water, land? How polluting is it? Is it local? Is it seasonal? If you are having fish, which fishing methods are most common?
If it is meat, how are animals commonly raised for and how are they most commonly killed? If it is tofu, how is it processed? It’s a good opportunity to think and learn about what happens to the food we buy before we actually buy it and vote with our dollars.
What is indeed more or less sustainable highly depends on the production method producers use. Raising cattle in the US can have a very different impact depending on whether it is fed with soybeans or grass.
The impacts of eating fish largely depend on whether the species is being overfished in a certain area. However, in general, some sustainable diet guidelines can be pointed out, as we’ve done in the article highlighted below.
5 – Buy From Local and Small Businesses
Small owned businesses such as restaurants and grocery stores are being particularly affected. As people opt for online shopping and large supermarkets, their sales volume decreases and they risk closing doors.
Nonetheless, the good news is: you can do something about it. Some of these small businesses are already providing home delivery without the hassle of waiting for weeks.
6 – Be An Active Member of Your Community
Thanks to the power of the digital, staying at home does not have to mean not being able to help others. A lot of digital platforms and tools are being created where people can put their skills and knowledge at the service of others, independently of their area of expertise. We challenge you to find where help is needed to contribute if you can with what you can.
Do you have skills in digital marketing? Help small business owners who produce essential items grow an audience. Are you an expert in video production? Ask these people to film some clips and send them to you to put them together with text and contacts.
Are you a musician? Give an online concert using your social networks. If you are a yoga teacher or a fitness instructor you can use zoom to film and share a lesson of yours. If you are struggling to make a living and could use some money out of this ask for it using Patreon’s platform.
7 – Watch a Sustainable Development-Related Documentary (Series)
What about learning about issues like melting glaciers and how this is affecting polar biodiversity? About how wild rivers are disappearing due to global warming and to dams that affect the health of ecosystems? How cheap clothes or some foods we consume hurt producers (take the example of avocados) in tropical developing countries?
Everyone has their own taste and favorite picks but and at Youmatter we are no exception – we have our own list of guilty pleasures too! Take a look at the article we made below.
8 – Take An Online Training On a Sustainable Development Issue
What about learning about some broader or more specific issues related to sustainable development? Be it tools on how to measure social and environmental impacts, sustainable fashion, ecosystem regeneration, or how to organize urban areas efficiently.
Some courses are shorter and last only a few hours, others take some more time/days. Some are even totally free and you only have to pay if you want a certificate.
Topics like degrowth, green growth, social entrepreneurship are interesting areas to explore to understand better the economical crisis that’s coming next and how to create systems that work better for all.
Via edX you can find plenty of interesting courses developed by different institutions, from Harvard University to MIT. Other platforms like Skillshare offer more art-related content while the Khan Academy delivers broader courses.
[Image credits to Shutterstock]